GOJIRA – Magma (Album Review)

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Gojira are a French metalcore outfit from Bayonne. The band was known as Godzilla until 2001, but now Gojira are vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joe Duplantier, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, lead guitarist Christian Andreu and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. They have released six studio albums and are known for their environmentally-themed lyrics and are now regarded as “amongst the genre’s leading new millennium upstarts“.

The latest album is a smoother beast than previous releases, but the more sleek metallic soundscape is still heavier than a pregnant rhino!

Hang on to what you have and let it grow
Everlasting love is ever-dying
It’s in the past, you have to let it go

The Shooting Star

The starter pistol for the record is the excellent “The Shooting Star“, which hits you with its Stoner riffing and its melancholy vocals.  The guitars are way up in the mix and there is a real trippy vibe.  The drums are restrained, but the whole tune is a really strong opener.

Echoes of Metallica swirl around “Silvera“, with Joe Duplantier evoking James Hetfield.  The song is heavy and mid-paced, with an absolute belter of a guitar solo that again has that Metallica feel to it.  This song is one of the best on the album and talks of some form of genocide, which is heavy stuff.

The Cell” grinds up the gears, with its metalcore feel.  The bass is higher in the mix and the chorus is catchy with its “I’ve been lost in the dark, I’m lost inside me” chant.  This is, however, a pretty brutal beast, albeit beset with some beauty…Awesome!

My favorite track is “Stranded“.  The sick, squealing guitar on top of the grinding tune, makes this a special song.  The clanging guitaring that ushers in the chorus of “don’t lock the door on me, you killed me face down dead” is also a special moment.  These songs do become lodged in your brain and you find them repeating during the day, which is the mark of a great record.

MagmaYellow Stone” is a quick instrumental that validates Gojira‘s debt to bands like Black Sabbath – the main riff is close to the classic “Iron Man” in places.

The title track brings up the pace again, with some more wonderful riffing and feedback.  The song is hypnotic with its dirge-like trance.  The lyrics make no real sense, but do paint a gritty picture.

The poison slowly spreads
Through the body and the mind
Close your eyes and drop your things
Be ready to fly

Pray” gets experimental, with flute and backing singers.  It starts off ticking like a time bomb and evolves into a jagged thrasher, which is balanced out with yet more stoner finishing.

Overall, the album is fresh and heavy.  It does lack the signature urgency of previous releases but is still one of the best albums of the year so far.

Respect is due and paid here; go see Gojira and tell me they are not the future of metal.

Buy: Magma

Official website / Facebook / Twitter

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